Today is the first day that New York State restaurants can apply for the Restaurant Recovery Fund. And one local restaurant, Babe's at Harbor Point in Utica, has applied today.
Restaurants can earn up $5,000 in grant money to help with the costs of adjusting to COVID-19 guidelines. Babe's was one of the eligible local restaurants. The General Manager of Babe's, Jeff Stone, said "Restaurants have been struggling all throughout the city and all throughout the state and we just think that this $5,000 is going to help us, it will help some of the bills."
In order to qualify, your restaurant must be full service, in New York State, and not a franchise. Also, the restaurant must have been in operation on or before March 1st, 2019. They cannot have more than 3 million in 2019 revenue. This is to make sure that the grant money is given to those who need it.
Mr. Stone said restaurants really need the help "You can tell right now, our bar is usually very you know steadily busy for lunch, but due to the COVID and due to whats happening its quite quiet during the lunch hours and the restaurant inside itself has been drastically affected by COVID."
This money will especially help with the extra costs of outdoor seating. Mr. Stone said "Well the amount of the heat with the propane for all the heaters out here, for the bubbles, for the tents. It's something that we would never have done in the past." But also, the items needed to keep the restaurant clean and safe. Mr. Stone said"The sanitizer, the masks, and all the wipes and stuff. It's been an extensive expense this year doing that. And obviously our takeout containers, our bags."
For those who are eligible, there is $3 million in grant money and it is first come first served. So apply now!